Maya Vaughan is at the top of the celebrity baking game, having been launched into foodie stardom after winning the first season of the popular reality show For the Love of Cake. She’s regularly in the tabloids for her edgy looks and flings with men and women, and the young pastry chef is taking a break from her everyday life to be one of the judges for the seventh season of the show that made her famous.
Shannon Hayes can’t believe it. Despite knowing it was a long shot when she applied, she’s floored and excited to learn she’s going to be a contestant on For the Love of Cake. In her early 40s, she’s finally living the life she’s always wanted and being on the show is a dream come true. It’s not going to be easy—Shannon has a lot to prove as she’s up against some mega talent and a range of personalities.
Maya and Shannon slowly find themselves attracted to each other, with a chemistry neither would have guessed. Anything romantic between a judge and one of the contestants would spell disaster, especially if they’re found out, but can they walk away from something with the potential to be so sweet?
Shannon is fabulous. She’s grounded, down to earth, and just lovely—exactly someone I’d love to have as a best friend. She’s older than everyone else on the show both in terms of age and experience, and she even has a grandbaby on the way. She’s totally devoted to her daughter, as well as to her boss, Jori, who runs the bakery Shannon works at. Shannon starts out the book without a ton of self esteem and it was so good to see her blossom under Maya’s attention, even if it takes a little while. I also liked seeing her develop more strength as the story progresses, refusing to settle for less than she deserves.
Maya is a total ice queen. She’s guarded, cynical, and weary with people’s expectations of her that are mostly thanks to the media and its tendencies to play up stereotypes about bisexual people (*cough* promiscuity *cough*). At the same time, she’s also incredibly hot, intense, and very good at her job. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her thaw thanks to Shannon and I would have happily read hundreds more pages about her.
Fans of Erin Dutton’s book A Place to Rest will be happy to hear that we see quite a bit of Jori and Sawyer in this story. It’s not necessary to have read it before picking up For the Love of Cake, though.
The Writing Style
For the Love of Cake is so easy to take in that I found myself sneaking opportunities to listen to it, because I wanted to hear just a few more minutes of Maya and Shannon. This is especially a big deal because I already read this book before when it came out!
I really like AJ Ferraro, so I enjoyed the narration for the most part. The one major issue, however, was that she seemed to waver in and out of southern accents, especially Shannon’s. Shannon is from Nashville, so sometimes she sounded like that, and sometimes she just sounded like AJ Ferraro. If that’s likely to bother you, I’d recommend grabbing the ebook or paperback rather than the audiobook because this story isn’t to be missed.
I love everything about this book. The characters are well developed and have excellent chemistry, the romance is fabulous, the pacing is perfect, and I was left wanting more.
I also loved that Maya confronts Shannon when she shares biphobic assumptions, correcting her in a way that helped Shannon learn and made me feel validated.
Nothing except that narration issue I mentioned above.
I can’t believe I waited so long to pick it up again! If you love a good romance, I highly recommend For the Love of Cake. I’ll definitely be reading and listening to this one again.
Excerpt from For the Love of Cake by Erin Dutton
“Shannon, have a seat,” Maya said as Shannon practically stumbled into the chair.
She inhaled slowly, then let her breath out, trying to concentrate. She could feel Maya’s eyes on her, but she couldn’t seem to drag her own gaze off the floor. Focus, damn it. Act like you’ve done this before. She’d had tons of customer consults for Drake’s, but none had made her this nervous.
She looked at Maya’s feet, clad in heavy, well-worn brown boots, then her legs, encased in soft denim. She slid past the fashionable belt and over a flat stomach, but froze when she reached her breasts, high and firm and wearing a trendy T-shirt like it was stitched just for them. Certainly, she’d admired them in magazine photos, but up close and in 3D, they were pretty amazing breasts. Maya crossed her arms over her chest, and Shannon had the impression of strong forearms before she forced her attention up. When she locked on Maya’s blue-gray eyes, she knew she’d been caught checking her out. One side of Maya’s mouth quirked, and Shannon swore she read interest in the returned gaze.
“Is there something you want to know?” If she had any doubt about being busted, the sultry tone in Maya’s voice confirmed it.
“Yes.” Shannon took a breath, unable to think of one appropriate, professional query. She almost laughed out loud at the thought of asking Maya on national television if the short hair at the nape of her neck was as soft as it looked or if her currently smirking mouth was as kissable as she imagined. “I’m—uh—a little nervous.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626392410
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: AJ Ferraro
Erin Dutton Online
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